It would be a disgrace if I stayed at an apartment a couple of minutes walk away from the Girardot soccer stadium in Medellin and I did not go once to either of the two first division soccer teams that play their home games at this stadium. Atletico Nacional has been more successful over its history, but Independiente Medellin was certainly having a better start to the season.

For the week that my brother was with me we only had one opportunity to catch a home game and that was the duel between Atletico Nacional and Bogotá Millonarios on the same day of our tour through la Comuna 13. The game started at 6pm so we were certainly in a rush to get back to Laureles after spending a great time in la Comuna 13 which ended a bit after 5pm.

One thing about my brother is that he is always hungry and so he was adamant on his desire to eat something prior to the game which would probably make us miss the start of the game. We ate or better said golfed a burger and fries at a fast food stall outside the stadium and marched our way through to the entrance. There is heavy police presence all around the stadium with guys in complete body armor looking like they could walk untouched through a minefield. 

I had seen them during my first few runs around the stadium on game nights and it was definitely intimidating to run by 20 guys every couple hundred meters or so with weaponry ready to fight a war. No messing around here with security that is for sure.

The process to get to our seats was pretty smooth and quick, but unfortunately we did have to throw away our sodas that we got with our meal. The stadium has a couple of levels and we were to the top of the first level where the animation zone meets the “regular” fans. To our left there were flags all over the place with the fans singing non-stop, whereas to the right the situation was much calmer. We were just a few seats inside of the animation zone which meant that if you wanted to see the game you had to stand up for the entirety of the 90 minutes to see anything because everyone in this zone was standing. On one hand it was a little bit annoying not to be able to just relax sitting down, but on the other hand this section was a complete vibe. It is a party that almost functions independently of the game. It does not matter if the home team is losing, everyone is still bouncing up and down and singing their lungs out except of course during half time. We all need a little bit of a break.

All my other soccer game experiences have been at the Camp Nou. I have never sat at their animation zone, but I can certainly say it was not like the one in Medellin. Just from watching videos on the internet I think South Americans are more passionate about the game at a cultural level. Obviously Spaniards love their soccer too, but you will never hear the Spanish crowd louder than the Argentinian crowd for example if the two played each other.

Even though the quality of this game was not at the level of a LaLiga, the crowd made this a great experience. Bogota played an overall better game and was leading 2-0 until Atletico scored a late goal in the 93rd minute. Unfortunately, there was no more time left to make something else happen.

By the way, if you are going to see a game anywhere in the world, make sure to check what the opponents colors are because my brother that day was wearing blue which is the official colors of the Millonarios. A few people commented on that and my brother complained to me that I should have told him. Lol.

Hasta luego.

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